A group of 75 US senators have signed a letter addressed to the current US Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to punish Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his application to join the ICC, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Wednesday.
In what the New Republic has called “a rare display of bipartisanship”, the senators have accused Abbas of intentionally and directly challenging “Israel’s legitimate right to defend its citizens and territory” and that his actions “erode the prospect of peace” in the region.
As well as declaring their collective and heartfelt relief that “the Palestinians efforts to unilaterally seek statehood via the UN Security Council failed”, the letter includes three demands:
“First… We urge you to make clear, publicly and privately, that the United States will veto any unilateral resolutions brought before the UN Security Council related to Palestinian statehood.
Second… Although we believe it is in the interest of the United States for urgent humanitarian assistance to continue to be provided to the Palestinian people, we will not support assistance to the Palestinian Authority while you undertake a review of this matter.
Third, Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States and is facing increasing pressure from those who seek to delegitimise its very existence… We request that you and other senior administration officials continue to speak out, as you did during last year’s Operation Protective Edge, in unambiguous support for Israel’s right to protect its citizens. We also urge you to highlight Hamas’s ongoing support for terrorism and documented use of innocent Palestinian civilians as human shields.”
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported that this letter came as a form of relief to Kerry, and served to absolve him from being involved in suggesting or approving any new bills regarding the halt of aid to the PA. “The senators are putting the ball in the court of the US State Department,” the newspaper said.
However, the Senate is still in theory able to approve any bill put before them, but it is difficult for such a bill to be passed by Congress or be approved by the president.